Last week, a Motorcycle Lobby Day was held in Parliament with great success. It brought together key motorcycle organisations in a day of activities aimed at MPs and Ministers and was organised to highlight key concerns that the motorcycle world has on public policy. As Chairman of the APPG on Motorcycling it provided an opportunity not just to meet many bike enthusiasts like myself, but also provided a forum for learning and understanding more about how government, both national and EU, can sometimes impede common sense solutions to safer riding.
It was a privilege to host the Associate Parliamentary Motorcycle Group reception which was attended by over 20 MPs and addressed by DfT Minister Mike Penning MP. Mr Penning spoke about the importance of motorcycling and pledged to bring the motorcycle test review to a positive conclusion.
There were several important messages taken from the events such as the importance of keeping awareness of the rider licensing review and the type approval campaign. Other key policies which emphasised the social and economic importance of motorcycling and the industry were also highlighted.
Riders and industry are still concerned about European proposals for a new ‘Type Approval’ framework which covers the design and construction of motorcycles. The proposals are complex and could result in significant costs and bureaucracy to business and riders. This could threaten jobs and economic development, particularly in the area of so-called ‘anti tampering’ proposals. In addition, the Third European Driving Licence Directive will also be implemented in 2013. This will bring further pressure on motorcycling, business and jobs unless implementation is conducted properly. There are also concerns about a DSA proposal for a register of motorcycle trainers.
At the UK level, the Government has been conducting a review of the motorcycle test and there is an expectation that a properly revised, fully on road test will start to be available from 2013. It is important that the Government fulfils this commitment and Ministers have expressed their determination to do so.
Government also needs to do more to maximise the opportunities that motorcycling can bring to transport policy, environmental policy, the economy and business. In particular it should note that:
- The motorcycle industry’s economic contribution is over £7billion per annum. Triumph Motorcycles in particular is the UK’s largest solely British owned volume automotive manufacturer and, along with other British manufacturers deserves wider recognition;
- Motorcycle sport is worth over half a billion pounds per annum to the UK economy; and
- With motorcycles still emitting on average significantly less Co2 than the car average, the Government should look at the ‘PTW option’ in transport policy.